The To-Read Pile

There's an ever growing pile of books I want to read…

Big Review: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

The first time I saw The Rook, I was in a bookshop in Seattle. I had it in my hand and I was thinking about buying it, but I was looking at $60 in excess baggage for the books I was already bringing home (really, I paid $60 to get my books home. I actually think that this was a bargain), and I decided that I just couldn’t afford another hardback. I reluctantly put it back on the shelf. This was in October and when I got back I discovered that it hadn’t been published here yet.

So imagine how happy I was when Head of Zeus offered me a free copy for the UK publication! I was very happy. I would even go so far as to say that I was thrilled. Thanks Head of Zeus! (Especially Amélie Burchell!)

The Rook is a little like Harry Potter if it were written for an adult audience. It centres around Myfanwy Thomas, a high level operative at a governmental agency designed to deal with the threats posed by people with… special abilities. Myfanwy’s official title is ‘The Rook’ and, although she has special abilities, before the book begins her job mostly consists of dealing with the paperwork. This all changes when she wakes up with no memory of her previous life, no idea about her abilities and only a letter she wrote to herself to help her decide what to do next. Actually, in that sense, it’s a little like the beginning of Total Recall (the version with Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Myfanwy doesn’t know who to trust or why her memory is gone, but she’s determined to figure it out.

What I liked:

I loved Myfanwy 2.0, which is to say the version of Myfanwy who woke up without her memory and kicked serious ass. I wasn’t quite so keen on the letter-writing version of her, but I thought it was clever to show the differences between them. I also really loved Myfanwy’s assistant, Ingrid, and her American counterpart, Shantay.

It’s obvious that a lot of thought was put into the world building of this story. Every detail is lovingly constructed and thought out and the fantasy world hidden within our world is brilliantly done.

The writing was a lot funnier than I was expecting it to be, the action sequences were great and well-written and I really loved reading as Myfanwy got control of her powers and became more and more badass.

I had a lot of fun reading the story and I rushed through to see how it would end and to find out who the traitors were.

What I didn’t like:

Myfanwy’s letters to herself were very exposition-heavy. This novel is obviously the set-up for a series and it does all the heavy-lifting for setting up the world and characters. It bothered me a little that the letter with information about things would show up just as it became necessary for the main plot. I know that with the set-up, it was necessary, but it still bothered me.




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This entry was posted on June 7, 2013 by in Reviews and tagged , , , .
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